Sri Lanka will miss the services of their key limited-overs player Dinesh Chandimal in the upcoming 13th Asia Cup. He is yet to recover from his finger fracture. The off-spinner Akila Dananjaya is also set to miss the first two games as he awaits the birth of his first child.
The 16-man squad will be led by Angelo Mathews. Here is the squad:
Angelo Mathews (capt), Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Upul Tharanga, Niroshan Dickwella, Danushka Gunathilaka, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Dilruwan Perera, Amila Aponso, Kasun Rajitha, Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera, Lasith Malinga.
The probable XI looks like this:
Openers: Niroshan Dickwella and Upul Tharanga
NIroshan Dickwella replaced injured Dinesh Chandimal. Dickwella was one of the standout performers in the series against South Africa and his initial exclusion from the squad was a surprise. Upul Tharanga opened the innings with Dickwell in the South Africa series.
Batsmen: Kusal Mendi, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera
Kusal Mendis would be their No.3 batsman even though there were doubts about him playing in that position before the South Africa series. But, he has convinced the team management that he can bat at 3. Angelo Mathews can be a handy batsman providing a little stability in the middle order with Dhananjaya De Silva, who has had no permanent batting position. But he is a versatile player capable of batting in the top and the lower order. Considering his form Sri Lanka might look to use him as a finisher in the lower middle order. All-rounder Thisara Perera is a big hitter for the team and can also come in handy with his right arm medium pace.
Bowlers: Lasith Malinga, Dilruwan Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Suranga Lakmal, Amila Aponso
Sri Lanka will look to Lasith Malinga and off-spinner Dilruwan Perera to offset the unavailability of Akila Dananjaya. The off-spinner Dananjaya is one of Sri Lanka’s major threats in ODIs and his absence in the first two games means Sri Lanka have no margin for error.
The seamer Dasun Shanaka put up strong performances in South African series and might be Sri Lanka’s third seaming option alongside Malinga and Suranga Lakmal. Considering Akila’s absence, Sri Lanka can opt for left-arm spinner Amila Aponso who has been in and out of the team for the past two years but has consistent domestic performances.
Sri Lanka is scheduled to play Bangladesh in the tournament opener on September 15, before facing Afghanistan on September 17.